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The history of non-professionals: how to make repairs from scratch in a three-room apartment

I will say right away, my wife and I do not have any professional relationship either to construction or to repair. Typical knowledge workers. But they decided to make repairs in their apartment on their own. First, I wanted to save money. And secondly, they heard a lot about the work of many “professional brigades”, to which only the word “trash” applies. I firmly believe that what is done by yourself and for yourself cannot be worse than what the notorious “master experts” will do, fighting absolutely transcendental money.

All the events described took place quite a long time ago, in 2005–2007. All amounts will be given in dollars, so as not to shock anyone with prices in Belarusian rubles at a rate of 2150 rubles / $. Almost everything in the apartment was done by hand. We turned to third-party specialists only for the following types of work:

1.distributing plumbing pipes and installing heated towel rails;
2. installation of an electrical panel and wiring of the main cables to the terminal boxes in the rooms; 3. laying ceramic tiles on the floor and wall; 4. manufacturing and installation of built-in cabinets.

Purchase history

Our family (me, wife, son) lived in a small town not far from Minsk. I worked in Minsk and every day was running along the route home-work-home, spending 3 to 4 hours on the road. It was tiring, but there were no career prospects in his hometown. Therefore, after eight years of my travels, we decided to move to Minsk. At the end of 2000, after six months of searching for possible options, we were finally lucky. New building, 3 rooms, 2 balconies, 100 meters square! When they saw the layout, they realized that there would be no other such case:

The only "but" - the house existed so far only in the form of a project and had to be built in 2 years. We agreed. All savings went for the purchase, the parents helped a little, as well as my employer who provided the loan. I do not want to rub salt on the spiritual wounds of current apartment buyers, but the fact remains: a square meter of housing in Minsk then cost about $ 300.Naturally, in our country, houses are rarely built on time. Four years passed instead of the promised two, and in 2005 we received the coveted registration certificate. These four years of waiting were spent with maximum benefit: we were able to save some money for the initial repair, and we also had a daughter.

Work was done on weekends - from Friday evening to Sunday evening. When it was necessary to make some noise, I tried to take a few days of vacation on work days, so as not to disturb the neighbors. In total, the entire repair took us about 1.5 years with short breaks.

What was at the time of purchase

There were plastered walls, a screed on the floor, concrete slabs on the ceiling, windows, radiators, 4 risers in the bathroom and nothing else. Even the windowsills. The balconies were uniformly glazed with builders in the whole house at once, for which we then had to pay extra on top of the contract.

After the “Smotrin” of the new apartment, my mother almost burst into tears and said that we could move in 10 years - so much more needs to be invested here. Especially after I found out that we all want to do it ourselves. And some friends openly chuckled at our idea.


We started with the fact that completely reworked all the electrics in the apartment. Laying the main cables and installed a shield with automatic professional electricians. Their work in 2005 cost $ 320. The washing machine and water heater are laid separate lines, warm floors, sockets in the bathroom and in the kitchen are protected by an RCD.

I independently drilled the walls, did additional and moved down the existing sockets. In each room, we got at least 4 groups of outlets, from 2 to 4 electric outlets in a group. In each room there is a TV socket and a socket of a local computer network. Yes, there are a lot of outlets, but nowhere else are extension cords under your feet, and you can safely rearrange the furniture without fear of blocking the power supply. The cables for the rear speakers of the 5 + 1 acoustics in the living room were immediately laid in the wall. All cables for low-voltage wiring are put into a toilet - a switching center was planned there. There, telephone, computer and television cables from the flap on the stairs, as well as wiring for signaling, were conducted. All materials, ranging from cables to light bulbs, cost $ 760.

Sanitary engineering

The arrangement of the bathroom and toilet was somewhat unusual. The spouse saw in the Keramin store a set of furniture with facades of warm-yellow color and categorically stated that the furniture in her bathroom would be just that. After that, for several months we racked up the sellers in the construction markets, trying to pick up the tiles on the wall tone in the tone of the door from freshly bought furniture. We are almost desperate, but who is looking for, he always finds - the tile of the desired color was found in the range of Cersanit. On the floor and walls of the toilet bought tiles from "Keramin".

At that time, I was still afraid to lay tiles on my own, so they invited the master on the recommendation of friends. The distribution of water supply and sewage pipes was also invited to a professional plumber who advised us to put filters for water purification. Bath area 5.5 square. m allowed to install a bath and shower. The layout of the furniture did themselves. Bath bought a Spanish Spanish Roca ($ 100) and for noise and heat insulation treated with its mounting foam. I built a gypsum cardboard box for the risers and a small edge along the two sides of the bath, which was then tiled.The shower stall was collected independently from a steel pallet and plastic blinds ($ 50 + $ 115). On the patch between the sink, shower and bath - electric underfloor heating. Although it is extremely rare to turn it on, since it is always warm in the bathroom.

In the toilet, a small sink was immediately planned, the pipes for the washing machine and the water heater were brought out in advance, the faucet with the hygienic shower was installed - it turned out to be a worthy replacement for the bidet.


Making the ceiling "for painting" is very time consuming. I learned this from my own experience, fighting for a long time with the ceiling in the kitchen. Therefore, in the children's rooms and the corridor, we pierced the ceiling once (to remove major defects and joints between the slabs), and then pokleili ceiling wallpaper. Wallpaper - German and Russian. Glued together with his wife, instead of the stairs using two old large table. We were very pleased with the result: fast, inexpensive, no cracks, a small relief of the wallpaper hides all defects. If you want, you can paint the wallpaper. The cost of wallpaper on the ceiling of one room was about $ 45.

The ceiling in the living room is a matter of pride. Nobody believes that I could make it myself.We planned to divide the largest room into two parts (living and sleeping areas) using a sliding glass partition, so the ceilings decided to make different: in the living room - the ceiling with a side and lamps around the perimeter, in the sleeping area - with hidden lighting for soft ambient light . The design was designed on the basis of numerous examples of ceilings from various construction sites and magazines on interiors. They made the metal frame themselves, but my brother and his wife's brother helped me with drywall, because the sheets were heavy and the spouse could not physically hold them. Then they pasted the entire surface of the ceiling with fiberglass, primed, prodded and painted. It turned out very comfortable and functional: several options for the central light and spot lights on the side to watch TV in the twilight. The cost of materials for ceilings in the living room / bedroom was about $ 300.

The bathroom made a false ceiling of PVC panels with halogen spotlights, nothing interesting. But when it came to the ceiling in the toilet, we were already so confident that we wanted something unusual.The ceiling in the toilet - frosted glass with painting. And it is rather an impromptu than a planned construction. By this time, the closet was already in the closet. It was necessary to assemble the frame of the ceiling on the ground and assembled to mount it to the anchors. The central part of the ceiling was plastered with remnants of ceiling wallpapers, a rim of gypsum plasterboard was made, in the center there were three pieces of frosted glass, which my wife painted with stained glass paints, behind the glass - 2 fluorescent lights.


The walls were plastered well enough by the builders, so we only prowled them, patched them once and covered them with wallpaper. It sounds easy and natural, but given the area of ​​the apartment - 100 meters, it is terrible to think about how much the plasterers and wallpaper pastors would have to pay for this work. And a lot of effort was taken away by the window slopes: primer, the first layer of putty, glue the glass canvas, the second layer of putty, paint in two layers. On all the walls, slopes and ceilings, we took about 40 bags of putty for a total cost of about $ 350.

While I was preparing the walls, my wife wound circles around the shops in search of wallpaper. In the children's rooms, it was decided to glue eco-friendly paper wallpaper.In the room of the daughter chose delicate pastel wallpaper of Belarusian production. They cost us $ 34, and found them in the remains in the very corner of the hardware store. The son in his room chose the wallpaper itself. But it would be too extreme to glue over the whole room with them, so they convinced him to glue over the two walls with plain Gomel wallpaper, and the two walls with German wallpaper with clouds and gulls ($ 75). In the living room - vinyl wallpaper, in the bedroom - Ukrainian paper ($ 120).


In the bathroom, toilet, hallway and the kitchen, we put ceramic tile Keramin on the floor, the rest is Egger laminate. In the kitchen, an electric heated floor was immediately planned with a programmable regulator, which helps a lot in the offseason, when it is already (still) cold outside and the heating is not (already) turned on. We do not have a door to the kitchen, so the effect of the included warm floor area of ​​6 square meters. m felt throughout the apartment.

The seller in the store, having learned the quantity of laminate we need, happily agreed to issue 4 plates of various colors and textures for temporary use. We combined these boards for a long time with the already purchased ceramic tiles, compared them under different lighting, until finally we chose two primary colors.In the room of the daughter and the bedroom - laminate of the color of light beech, and in the room of the son and in the living room - of the rich chestnut color. The laminate was laid on its own strictly by technology - the floor was leveled, the film was laid, the substrate and the laminate were laid (small know-how: it is very convenient to use usual plastic clothespins for installing gaps between the laminate and the walls, and they are just the right thickness). The laminate cost us $ 1200. After 5 years of operation there are no defects on it.

Built in furniture

Built-in closets we have a lot - a total of four, with two very large. We carefully thought through all the cabinets, determining in advance what things would be in each cabinet, and planned the dimensions of the shelves and drawers under the dimensions of these things. The spouse was in charge of the design and color of the door of the cabinets, I was responsible for the design of the internal content. Excel has been very convenient for this purpose.

In the hallway, so that the place near the door does not disappear, a small partition is built from the plasterboard and a cabinet with an unusual "folding" door is built into the formed niche.

The toilet has a corner cabinet in which a washing machine and a water heater are hidden.there are special places for stairs, ironing boards, vacuuming and drying for laundry, and also a very useful shelf for magazines at arm's length from the toilet :).


The kitchen is the training ground where we started all kinds of work, and the first room where all kinds of work were finished. The walls were hung with German washable wallpaper, on the apron they put Polish mother-of-pearl tiles. Kitchen furniture - factory "ZOV", MDF facades. We ourselves modeled the kitchen project on a computer, and then went with a printout to the furniture salons and asked to calculate the cost. There is a freezer on the plan to the left, he was already with us at that time, and we were actively using it, so we decided to take it to a new apartment.

Kitchen furniture consisting of 10 different boxes, countertops and roofs cost us $ 800, and they ordered it from ZOVA representatives in their hometown, in Minsk the same cost was at least $ 200 more expensive. The oven and the hob took Electrolux ($ 620), Cata hood ($ 130). All kitchen furniture, sink, faucet, hood, oven and hob set himself. In addition, they ordered another piece of table top and made a large window sill out of it, it turned out a very convenient coffee-tea table, two sockets for it were made in advance.After 2 years on the kitchen balcony, we bought the exact same furniture and tabletop, and now both rooms look like a single space.


Balconies, or rather glazed loggias, we have two - one near the kitchen, the other near the bedroom. Already after our move to the apartment, we completely warmed them with foam plaster and penofol, laid a pine plank floor, covered it with plasterboard on a wooden frame and finished it with decorative plaster. On the kitchen balcony, they put and hung up several drawers from the same series as in the kitchen. On the second balcony I set up my own office. The quality of the insulation turned out to be so good that no additional heating is required - it is enough just to keep the door to the room open. In winter, when the frost outside is more than -25, you can turn on a small heater.

So, repairs were made during 1.5 years on weekends and holidays. After moving to a new apartment for 2 years in the evenings and on weekends, the balconies were warmed, wardrobes and various trifles were finished. Total, from 2005 to the present day, about $ 25,000 was spent on repairs, furniture, household appliances and everything else.

Now we live here:

Living room + bedroom

Initially, our living room was narrow and long - 6.10 × 3.40. Since two separate rooms decided to give the children one son, one daughter, my wife and I were left without a bedroom. The way out of the situation was a sliding partition of frosted glass, which divided the room into two parts. The TV was hung on a swing arm, and it can be turned and watched from the sleeping area, especially behind the headboard there are additional speakers connected to the TV.

Son's room

In this room, the furniture is from our old apartment, so she came out somewhat ascetic: the son (18 years old) prefers only functional things, and the decor is generally skeptical. The writing table is old, restored by us, but very large and comfortable (170 × 80 cm ). From the sports corner, the son now uses only a horizontal bar, for everything else, the daughter climbs more. Hopefully very soon the son will want to change his room, at least he already wants a large built-in closet.

Daughter's room

My daughter was still of preschool age when we moved. Like our son, we allowed her to (almost) choose for her room what she liked. The result was a barbie pink interior.The second sofa is for your beloved grandmother when she comes to stay.

Entrance hall

Over the cupboard in the hallway, we thought for a very, very long time. I wanted to solve several problems at once: to separate the area of ​​the entrance door, to make a bookcase, a wardrobe for clothes and an open wardrobe for street clothes. Here's what happened:

We wanted to finish the wall in the hallway and from the corridor to the kitchen with decorative plaster, but for those times it turned out too expensive. Therefore, as a temporary solution, they decided to glue colored wallpapers. But the idea of ​​decorative plaster is increasingly returning. A wall outlet is placed on the wall between the bathroom and the toilet so that it is convenient to turn on the vacuum cleaner. The light in the hallway can be turned on and off from two different places with the help of walk-through switches. Switches, by the way, with illumination. This is what the joint of laminate and interior doors looks like:


It is warm and very comfortable here, you can work up until late, without disturbing anyone to sleep. The length of the table is 240 cm, on it the A3 format printer fits easily. On the wall behind the chair, the unfinished outline of the castle, also made of decorative plaster, is slightly noticeable. It has yet to be finished with different colors.

Still on the balcony there is a small table of the spouse.


The color scheme of the bathroom turned out very "warm." There are no complaints about the steel bath, with the exception of a smaller depth than the old Soviet cast-iron ones. A very convenient side around the perimeter of the bath, there are usually all sorts of shampoo-conditioners. Shower cubicle measuring 90 × 90 cm.


The toilet has a sink, heated towel rail, faucet with hygienic shower. In a large corner cabinet hangs a small water heater of 15 liters, which we turn on when the hot water is turned off. Its capacity is enough to take a shower or wash the dishes. As I have already said, a washing machine, a ladder, a vacuum cleaner, an ironing board, my tools, many shelves for storing washing powders, detergents and other household items are hidden right away. A switch of a local network and a DSL modem is installed on one of the upper shelves.


The freezer does not fit into the kitchen interior a bit, but, as I wrote, we use it very actively, and we haven’t yet seen the sale of a metallic-colored freezer. Initially, we had a kitchen faucet with a watering can - very comfortable.But after 5 years, we changed two watering cans (due to cracks in the body), we had to buy a regular faucet with a high spout. On the wall near the work surface 3 sockets and a switch for lighting on the roof of kitchen furniture are displayed.

Kitchen balcony

On the kitchen balcony, we decided to slightly diversify the technique of applying decorative plaster and tried to make different relief drawings, toned the plaster in different colors and applying it in several layers. It turned out pretty. This balcony - and pantry, and dryer. Immediately there is a bread maker, drying for vegetables.

We are very proud of our apartment - here everything is done exactly as we like. Large rooms in children, a spacious entrance hall, a lot of built-in furniture, a lot of free space. Even though we have been living in it for more than 5 years, not all our ideas and desires have been realized yet. Next is the built-in wardrobe in my son’s room, my daughter dreams of an aquarium, his wife is about a dishwasher, and I want to make a small waterfall, why? I do not know for sure yet.

At the end of the story I want to give some tips from my repair experience.

1. Electrics and plumbing are things that are done once and almost forever.To alter them is very difficult, so you need to immediately do everything reliably and with a margin for further expansion. Even if you do not have money for a dishwasher right now, do not save it - pull the cable and two pipes, it will not be so expensive.

2. Photograph the position of all cables and pipes in the walls, indicating the distances to the landmarks - floor, ceiling, and the corner of the room. Then it will come in handy when you have to mount something on the wall.

3. Do not save on the tool and buy everything you need. During the repair, I purchased: a drill, a perforator, a grinder, a screwdriver, a glue gun, a grinder, a jigsaw, a gun for foam, a set of spatulas and much less significant. In the total repair costs, tool costs were only 2%.

4. Follow the technology of application of materials. If a drying period of 12 hours is written on the can with a primer, then you must really wait 12 hours. If it is said that the plasterboard on the ceiling must be fastened with metal anchors, and not with plastic dowels, then this is the way to do it. Do not listen to the advice of "professionals":“Boss, do not be afraid, everyone did that, no one complained”. You live here, and the ceiling on your head will fall.

Well, successes to all those who undertake such a difficult business as repairing their own apartment.


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